02 March 2022
Massimiliano Allegri fielded the youngest Juventus starting XI since the beginning of the last decade as the coach handed 21-year-old Marley Aké his first start in midfield. Danilo, Matthijs De Ligt and Mattia De Sciglio made up the three-man defence, while Moise Kean partnered Dusan Vlahovic, whose return to the Artemio Franchi was met passionately by the home support.
NO INCH GIVEN
Backed by their vociferous fans, Fiorentina started with intent. As early as the sixth minute, Riccardo Saponara hit a shot from outside the penalty area, which was comfortably taken by Mattia Perin. Perin almost gifted the Viola the opener when in an attempt to play the ball out from the back he found Giacomo Bonaventura on the 18-yard-line. Fortunately for the Juve keeper, the Fiorentina number 5 shot over. Although not creating any chances of their own, Juve were keeping Fiorenint at a safe distance. Only once did the hosts penetrate the Bianconeri penalty area, and that was when Jonathan Ikoné used his pace to show Mattia De Sciglio a clean pair of heels. The Frenchman dragged his shot just wide. Lucas Torreira had an effort that dipped over the crossbar before he was dispossessed at the point of shooting by Arthur as the first half drew to a close with neither side looking particularly dangerous. Both Kean and Vlahovic were being closely marked by Nikola Milenkovic and Igor.
Both sides made substitutions at the start of the second half. Lorenzo Venuti replaced Alvaro Odriozola for the hosts, while Aké made way for Juan Cuadrado.However, it was Ikoné who would once again be the Fiorentina dangerman, when on 48' he turned inside the box but saw his effort strike the outside of the post.10 minutes into the second half, finally Vlahovic broke free from his marker to latch onto a pass in the penalty area. The striker attempted to lob Pietro Terracciano but the keeper at full stretch managed to deflect the ball out for a corner. Juventus were growing in stature and created two chances between the 74th and 78th minute. First, Danilo glanced a header wide from a corner, before Cuadrado smashed a shot into the side netting from an excellent position.
Fiorentina made four more changes, while Alvaro Morata replaced Moise Kean for the Bianconeri. However, it was the first substitutes that would decide the fate of the match. In stoppage time, Adrien Rabiot supplied Cuadrado, whose dangerous cross from deep inside the penalty area was turned into his own net by Venuti. Heart break for the home-grown full-back, delight for Juventus.
The Bianconeri host Fiorentina in the return-leg in late April with a hard-fought one-goal advantage to defend.
FIORENTINA 0-1 JUVENTUS (HT: 0-0)
SCORER: 90+1' Venuti (OG)
Terracciano; Odriozola (46' Venuti), Milenkovic, Igor, Biraghi; Bonaventura, Torreira, Castrovilli (84' Duncan); Ikoné (84' Gonzalez), Piatek (65' Cabral), Saponara (65' Sottil).
Subs not used: Rosati, Dragowski, Callejon, Maleh, Terzic, Egharevba, Amrabat.
Perin; Danilo, de Ligt, De Sciglio; Aké (46' Cuadrado), Locatelli, Arthur, Rabiot, Pellegrini; Vlahovic, Kean (59' Morata).
Subs not used: Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Bonucci, Soulé, Miretti, Stramaccioni.
Assistants: Carbone, Lo Cicero
Fourth Official: Marinelli
VAR: Di Paolo, Ranghetti
BOOKINGS: 57' Pellegrini (J), 71' Bonaventura (F), 72' Milenkovic (F), 79' De Sciglio (J) , 90' Torreira (F)